CRNA Professional Designation Measure Passes General Assembly, Sent to Governor for Enactment
Pennsylvania Association of Nurse Anesthetists
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CRNA Professional Designation Measure Passes through General Assembly, Sent to Governor for Enactment
HARRISBURG (June 25, 2021) --- Legislation that would finally grant formal title recognition to certified registered nurse anesthetists in Pennsylvania is on its way to Gov. Tom Wolf for enactment after the House passed a Senate-sponsored measure (S.B. 416) today.
Once the bill is signed into law, it will end Pennsylvania’s distressing status of being one of just two states (New York is the other) that fails to formally recognize “certified registered nurse anesthetist” in some form. Because there is no definition for nurse anesthetists under the state’s Professional Nursing Law, CRNAs are recognized only as registered nurses.
“We are so grateful to Sen. John Gordner and Rep. Tarah Toohil, both of whom have been longtime champions for CRNAs and worked so hard to get this legislation over the finish line,” said Matt McCoy, DNP, CRNA, President of the Pennsylvania Association of Nurse Anesthetists (PANA), which represents more than 3,700 CRNAs and students in the state.
“Finally, CRNAs in Pennsylvania will get the recognition they deserve for their advanced training, education and clinical skills,” McCoy said.
Both the House and Senate passed identical companion measures within days of each other last week. House Bill 931 is sponsored by Toohil (R-Luzerne), but it was Gordner’s (R-Columbia) legislation (S.B. 416) that ran the full course of the legislative process.
Gordner has had previous measures pass the Senate only to stall in the House --- until this year. The issue has been under legislative review and debate for more than a decade.
CRNAs are the hands-on providers of anesthesia care, operating safely in every setting where anesthesia is administered, including: hospital operating and delivery rooms; ambulatory surgical centers; the offices of dentists, ophthalmologists, and plastic surgeons; pain management centers and more.
Besides title recognition, the measure also expands the providers that CRNAs are permitted to work with to include podiatrists, and it clarifies regulatory language as it pertains to physician involvement with anesthesia services, formalizing the status quo. The measure also includes cooperation language to define the relationship CRNAs have with their physician colleagues.
Lack of professional designation brings logistical and financial challenges for CRNAs, who have to secure credentials in other states for some activities, including serving in the military. The pandemic revealed additional shortcomings, where health-care facilities wanted to use CRNAs to their fullest capacity but felt restricted by licensing standards.
But all that ends when Gov. Tom Wolf signs the measure into law. The governor has 10 days to sign the bill into law, veto it, or allow it to become law without his signature.
For more information about certified registered nurse anesthetists in Pennsylvania, visit www.PANAforQualityCare.com or follow along on social media via Twitter at @PANACRNA or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/PANACRNA.